House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was reform.

Last in Parliament September 2002, as Liberal MP for Saint Boniface (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Information Highway November 24th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, just a few weeks ago the Alberta library, in partnership with Industry Canada, made an announcement whereby 200 new Internet access sites will be established throughout the province of Alberta.

This is part of a tremendous achievement, making Canada the first most connected country in the whole world, led by Industry Canada. This will provide community information centres. It will provide technology training. It will provide jobs for young people. It will permit Albertans to be additionally connected to Canadians, indeed to the whole world. This is great stuff.

Government Programs November 16th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, WD is bringing a service to the people. WD has over 100 points of service in the four western provinces, 90 community futures development corporations, four women's enterprise centres and a one-stop business development centre to serve the people locally.

Calgary is the gateway to southern Alberta and to the large market of the United States. It is doing business with the people locally to assist them with their particular needs. It is good business.

Centres Of Excellence October 21st, 1998

Mr. Speaker, there are now 14 centres of excellence across Canada. As a result of the announcement I made in Quebec City last week, three new centres were added, representing a $41 million investment: one for mathematics, another for arthritis and finally, one called a geoid, with its administrative centre in Laval.

These centres stand for state-of-the-art research. They stand for partnership, as universities work together with industry and the private sector, across the country. The centre of excellence for arthritis will address the needs of 8 million affected Canadians. This is good news.

Year 2000 Problem June 12th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, as has already been indicated every single initiative by the government has been undertaken to make sure that there is no Y2K problem in the year 2000.

Internally and externally we have been communicating with all the people with whom we do business. We have been advising them of the problem and it is up to them to take the action required. In fact, they can do so even more easily as a result of the announcement of the Minister of Finance yesterday. They can now deduct those initiatives. They can demand that these items be compliant and they will do so.

Youth June 8th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, besides providing a situation whereby Canada will be the most connected nation in the world by the year 2000, there is one particular initiative that needs to be mentioned. The Industry Canada SchoolNet digital collections program has already awarded 280 contracts, creating 1,400 jobs for young Canadians in order to increase Canadian content on the information highway in a significant kind of way, in the multimedia area and in entrepreneurship.

As well, for our aboriginal Canadians, on June 2 I announced a project for aboriginals that will be on the Internet, creating 200 jobs, giving them opportunities to be involved in entrepreneurship and giving us an opportunity to appreciate even more than we do our aboriginal—

The Economy June 1st, 1998

Mr. Speaker, first let me congratulate the 8,000 plus participants at the congress who come from a host of disciplines and whose wealth of knowledge contributes to the quality of life of Canadians.

We are doing a great deal. There are two examples. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council budget will be increased to $103 million by the year 2000. The federal government is funding a centre of excellence, Telelearning, that puts together what the social sciences and other sciences are able to do. In this case it gives Canadians the tools to adapt to the new knowledge based economy.

Science, Research And Development May 25th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, science, research and development continue to be priorities of the Western Economic Diversification.

There have been a number of important announcements, the most recent in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Friday, where it was announced that $2.1 million will be provided to fund a centre on expertise for the aging. It will be at the forefront of research in this area. It will address certain diseases such as Alzheimer and certain cardiovascular problems associated with aging.

The best news of all is, not only will it be at the forefront in the world, it will create 100 good jobs for western Canadians.

The Year 2000 May 14th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the industry committee's report today and thank all members for having brought forward this unanimous report.

It is much appreciated by all.

I want everyone to know that the government has indeed shown leadership. The Prime Minister has alerted all of his ministers, the private sector and his colleagues internationally. We are working together.

It is very important that we recognize that this is simply not a Government of Canada challenge. It is a challenge for all levels of government, the private sector and, indeed, all of us. We have a common objective with a common goal and we must work together to achieve it.

Regional Development Agencies May 7th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, there is obviously a fundamental difference here in terms of the approach to the development of the nation. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of development agencies.

I will start by thanking the hon. member for Kelowna for all of the good work that he has been doing with the Central Okanagan Community Futures Development Corporation.

Community futures development corporations are funded in large part by regional agencies. They play a very important part in the economic development of rural and non-rural western Canada. The Central Okanagan Community Futures Development Corporation is part of western diversification's western Canada business services network.

Since his election, the hon. member for Kelowna has continued his good work by meeting with management of this community futures development corporation to discuss the corporation's business plan. He has continued by attending that community futures development corporation's networking evenings for small business. In September 1996 he was one of the opening speakers at the Central Okanagan CFDC's annual meeting, where I am told that my hon. colleague spoke glowingly of the achievements of the community futures development corporation.

I say to the hon. member: Good work. Keep it up. He knows that these community development futures corporations have a niche, that they are filling a need, that they work and that they do help in the creation of thousands of jobs.

At the same time I must confess that I find it strange why this member, who knows the benefits that the regional economic development agencies provide to small and medium size businesses, would put forward a motion to disband these agencies.

Regional economic development is, without a doubt, one of the cornerstones of our nation. The federal government has promised to pursue economic development and to promote equal opportunity for all Canadians. Whatever our party or background, we must agree that strong regions contribute to a strong Canada.

The federal government, the industry portfolio in particular, plays a critical role in pooling and marshalling the resources that businesses in Canada need. Canada's regional development agencies are largely responsible for the development and delivery of these resources across the country. They exist to help businesses in the regions develop and grow to meet the challenges of the globally competitive world.

I am very proud to be responsible for our regional agencies. Let me give members a few reasons for that.

In my province of Manitoba, western economic diversification, as lead federal agency for federal assistance, hit the ground running during the Manitoba flood with its economic recovery efforts. The mobile restart program, le program mobile de redémarrage, took applications on the spot, returned in a week with a cheque, provided $8.8 million to almost 2,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Over 1,000 businesses have been helped with WED providing more than $13.4 million, cost shared with the province of Manitoba.

Helping displaced fishers, for example, affected by changes in the west coast salmon fishery, WED brought together federal departments and 12 community future development corporations, made over $5 million available for small business planning and financing. Fishers can begin their own businesses.

The western Canada business services network plays a key role in creating jobs and fulfilling needs in that part of the country. There are also community futures development corporations, commonly known as CFDCs. Service centres for women entrepreneurs, business service centres and WD's own offices are other examples.

We have more than 100 points of service in western Canada, more than 1,000 volunteers in the network and another 325 people working at WD. They serve most urban centres and small towns like Morris, Manitoba, Bruno, Saskatchewan, and Bonnyville, Alberta. This goes to show that these centres are not serving only or mostly larger cities. Their primary focus is small towns and rural areas.

I want to tell this House very briefly about some success stories. Barbara Dale from Edmonton came to Alberta Women's Enterprise Initiative Association with an idea for a business in 1996. She received business planning help and qualified for a $100,000 start-up loan. Last year her company, Labour Now Industrial Staffing, had sales of over $1 million and is forecasting $4 million for this year.

Each of WED's products and services must meet the needs of a specific client group, follow the agenda of the federal government in terms of economic development, provide key needs of small business, information and capital.

Canada Business Service Centres, les Centres de services aux entreprises du Canada, are an important element in this economic development.

WED is a managing partner in the west. Last year these organizations took an average of 33,000 requests for information and 50,000 website hits every month.

With respect to the loans and investment fund, WD makes contributions to loan-loss reserves to raise capital for small business from financial institutions.

For every dollar invested by WD, financial institutions invest eight. As a result, $420 million was made available to small and medium size businesses. WD helps businesses fill in loan applications. Loans are administered by financial institutions at arm's length from WD.

While still a new program, more than 240 loans totalling $55 million have already been approved. Also, CFDCs have granted more than 1,500 smaller loans, which helped create 2,500 jobs in rural areas in western Canada.

Look at WED's efforts with aboriginal peoples: contribution of $950,000 given to the Aboriginal Business Development Centre in Winnipeg to encourage entrepreneurship among urban aboriginals; a contribution of $5 million toward Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.

To promote linguistic duality, $1.6 million was granted to the Manitoba bilingual communities' economic development board to help 11 bilingual municipalities further their economic development. Other investments were made in other western provinces to meet the needs of francophones.

For the youth employment strategy, four programs: the international trade personnel program, first job in science and technology, the western youth entrepreneurship program, and the community economic development internship program. Let me give a concrete example of what this has done.

Glas Aire Industries in Vancouver, an automotive accessories manufacturer, hired a graduate under the ITPP to try to crack the Japanese market. It resulted in contracts with Nissan and Toyota. Omar Essen, general manager of the company said “Our Japanese success is largely due to WD”.

On partnership agreements, we are currently negotiating five year agreements with four western provinces to collaborate, work together and co-operate on economic priorities. Alberta's is in place. We are nearing completion with three other infrastructure works programs.

WD is the federal delivery agent in the west with over 5,200 projects approved, more than 33,000 jobs created by that program. It is clear that WD is helping to build a strong economy in the west. It is equally clear that a vibrant economy in one part of the country benefits all other parts of the country.

I could speak much longer but I will finish by saying that WD works. I have given many examples. There are literally hundreds of others.

Mr. Speaker, you and I and perhaps a few others know that what is good for western Canada is good for Canada. What is good for western Canadians is good for all Canadians. My colleagues could make similar comments with other regional development agencies that exist and which are tailor made to respond to the unique needs of other regions of the country.

Science And Technology April 28th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, this is the first rocket that has been launched from Churchill since 1989, launched successfully I might say today at 7:10 a.m. It has a payload of scientific experiments for the Canadian Space Agency. One instrument is called Active and it will analyse the thermal plasma in the atmosphere.

This is good for Canadians. They see the benefits of space exploration. This enhances Canada's image in science and technology throughout the world.